Episode #222 – Full Transcript

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The following is the Podcast #222 transcript from this episode: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/12/episode-222-what-is-the-best-way-to-track-your-heart-rate-variability/

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Introduction:   In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, what is the best way to track your heart rate variability?  Also, what is glutathione, the least amount of exercise necessary for good health, how to minimize stress from travel, how and when to swim with a snorkel, how to deal with the foot neuroma, and how antacids and ADHD medication affect athletes.

Brock:  Okay. I just polished off a box of wine and I spent some time getting in touch with my feminine side so hopefully, I’ll be able to measure up to the last couple episodes with Jessa.

Ben:  Dude, it’s kinda weird actually to be a recording this once again at the ungodly hour that we usually record rather than in evenings with my wife who’s been sitting in for you the past 2 episodes, Brock.

Brock:  And doing a fantastic job.  Thank you, Jessa in covering for me.

Ben:  We having to have this glass of plain water rather than the usual box of wine I was able to get used to past couple of weeks so thanks for that, Brock.

Brock:  You know what I’m most disappointed in is that you did an episode that involved chocolate, coffee, garlic and talking about boners without me.

Ben:  But at least my wife thinks you’re Australian, apparently.

Brock:  That’s right, mate.

Ben:  That’s right.  That wonderful down under Canadian accent.

Brock:  They’re quite similar, yes.

Ben:  Welcome back from Thailand, Brock.  I’m glad you survived.

Brock:  Yeah.  My more than survive goes a fantastic time.  The races were a little more challenging than I had anticipated but it was pretty awesome and I mean, the food, the people, the country, it’s all just magical.

Ben:  Awesome! Now that all the listeners out there are aware that Brock was not skilled at any type of military cue, that he is not laid up with any type of strange parasitic infections that we know about yet…

Brock:  Not yet.

Ben:  And he is back up in Canada.  Let’s do this podcast thing.

Brock:  All right.

News Flashes:

Brock:  Okay.  As always, to get these news flashes hot off the proverbial presses, make sure to follow Ben on twitter.com/bengreenfield and also go to Google+ ‘cause there’s all kinds of cool stuff going on there and you can find all that, all those links all the ways to find them if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Ben:  That’s right. This is what episode number is this that we’re recording, Brock?

Brock:  222.

Ben:  Nice. Easy to remember. So I’ll put a link to everything we talk about in Episode #222. One tweet I put out was yummy brominated vegetable oil in sports drinks and this was based off in New York Times article that came out this week that talked about this lady over in Missouri who is a dedicated vegetarian and she grabbed the bottle of Gatorade to drink and checked the label to make sure that there are no animal products in the drink and she noticed that there were something called brominated vegetable oil as an ingredient in Gatorade.

Brock:  Well, that’s made from vegetables.

Ben:  Yes.  It is made from vegetables.  So the issue is not that it’s an animal-based product but rather she was a little bit curious what that actually was. And so when she started looking into it, she found out some of the nasty things that actually happen when you consume high amounts of brominated vegetable oil like neurological disorders and altered levels of thyroid hormone.  Use of brominated oil in the US has actually been something that’s kinda going back and forth in terms of its safety for the past 30 years. European Union has banned it from foods for a long time. Japan recently moved to ban it as well. But about 10% of the drinks sold in the US have brominated vegetable oil – Mountain Dew is one, Powerade is one, the Dr. Pepper’s another and Gatorade is one.  And basically, what brominated vegetable oil is is it has bromine which is the same thing that they put into like flame retardants and they also put it into these drinks.

Brock:  Of course, they don’t burst into flames.

Ben:  Exactly. You would never want your Gatorade to burst into flame after you left it in a hot car or something like that.


Obviously, it’s a very logical thing to put into a sports drink but something to certainly take into consideration before you start giving your kids or yourself a bunch of Gatorade.  And there was basically a panel called to action back in the 70’s to look into this stuff because it was generally recognized as safe back in 1970.  The FDA took it off the list of substances generally recognized as safe after what’s called the flavor and extract manufacturers’ association revoked the approval of brominated vegetable oil but it’s kinda just falling off the face of the map since then and it was never added back to that list. It was kind of ignored. No long term studies have been done on it.  However, there was an article about it by Environmental Health News that ran in Scientific American last year that did find that people who binge on sodas and other drinks that specifically have this brominated vegetable oil and then experienced nerve disorders, memory loss and a lot of the things that brominated vegetable oil has been shown to cause in studies in animals. I probably don’t tell a lot of our generally healthy listeners not to drink soda but I do know that a lot of folks are still them or their children getting indecent share of sports drinks and this is another reason to be kind of careful with that.

Brock:  It’s not necessarily in all sports drinks. It’s really just is Gatorade and I think Powerade as well uses it but I know the sport drink that I use, Tailwind doesn’t have it and there’s numerous brands out there so you really just need to check the ingredients list.

Ben:  I’m sorry telling this.  It’s a horrible name.

Brock:  I know, I know. I feel embarrassed every time I pull the package out.  It’s such good stuff but it’s really a terrible name.

Ben:  It sounds like some type of a flatulent beverage. So enjoy, drink out your Tailwind or my favorite sports drink is just basically coconut water.  Another thing that I tweeted was how to use whole body vibration. And whole body vibration was something that Jessa and I discussed briefly about how all vibration plates are not created equal in one of the episodes we recorded.  I think it was Episode 220.

Brock:  Is that the marathon 2 ½ – hour long one?

Ben:  Yeah. So if anybody got past the hour mark of that, my deepest apologies.  But anyways, there was a study that appeared in the National Journal Strength Conditioning Research this month and it looked into the improvements in running economy after 8 weeks of whole body vibration training.  Not only improvement in the rate of force development in the muscles that were involved with running but also an increase in what’s called the maximal isometric force or the force production capabilities of those muscles.  And what they were actually doing in terms of how you use these things because I know a lot of people will see these studies on whole body vibration platforms but maybe scratch their heads about how you actually use the things if your gym has one, your health club has one, or you listened to that podcast with Jessa and I where we talked about which vibration plates are good and which aren’t that good. But the protocol they used in the study was 10 efforts of 30-60 seconds on that vibration platform with the knees bent at about 120 degrees so you’re kinda like in quarter squat standing on the thing for 30-60 seconds so it’s basically semi-squat vibration training.  And that protocol 10 by 30-60 seconds was done 3 times a week over a period of 8 weeks.  So I wanted to tweet that just for people who I know may have access to a whole body vibration platform, that’s the way you would use it if you wanted to use something like that to improve your running economy.

Brock:  So you’re just standing on it in a 3 or one quarter squat.  That’s all you’re doing for 30-60 seconds?

Ben:  Which is actually on a good vibration platform that has a high velocity of acceleration in terms of its vibration.

Brock:  Amplitude?

Ben:  Yeah. Exactly. Like a strong vibration platform – a high quality one. And that’s actually pretty hard to do. It’s a pretty tough workout.  That will drain you 10 by 60 seconds on a semi-squat position on whole body vibration.  So, not to be confused with basically slouching with your arms on the pads of the vibration training while you sip a soda. The last thing that I wanted to mention was another study that looked in to the risks of ibuprofen use when combined with exercise. And as we mentioned last year, when a study published last year came out – that cyclist who rode hard for an hour on ibuprofen developed elevated blood levels of a marker that indicates basically gastrointestinal leakage.


And that marker, by the way, is called the fatty acid binding protein. It’s something that you can measure to see how much leakage in GI tract is occurring. Well, there’s another study that just came out that was just published this month and what they did was they had a group of healthy active men swallowed about 400 mg of ibuprofen the night before and also the morning of their trip to this lab for exercise. They were at bikes for an hour and what they did was they drew blood to check whether these guys’ small intestines were leaking and they found that blood levels of that same protein – that fatty acid-binding protein that indicates intestinal leakage was way higher when these men combined the bike riding with ibuprofen than when they just rode or they took ibuprofen alone. Once again, for anybody out there who is popping this stuff to try and reduce inflammation or reduce soreness during a marathon or during a triathlon, it’s a really quick way to generate some stomach damage and GI distress.

Brock:  And poop your pants.

Ben:  And possibly, do that. That’s right. Natural alternative to ibuprofen, my recommendation (this is something that was introduced to me by Dr. Roby Mitchell, he’s been on the show a few times and we did a whole episode on ibuprofen alternatives), I recommend phenocane. I keep some of that at home. It’s basically curcumin extract combined with phenoalanine and nedokinase and those are 2 things that can inhibit cytokine production and help to shut down inflammation without putting the same number on your gut as ibuprofen does.

Brock:  How would that stuff work for say like a headache?

Ben:  Very well. You pop 4-8 of them and they can have a pretty profound effect. Again, it’s just a band aid. I mean, it’s the one that word issue whether to food sensitivity or blood flow issue or magnesium deficiency or an acidic diet or something like that that’s causing the headache but this stuff can at least mediate some of the pain.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  They say, it’s Ben’s birthday. Actually, it’s tomorrow, yeah. Tomorrow’s Ben’s birthday.  Make sure to join the VIP Text Club.  He usually gives some stuff away. Tomorrow’s Ben’s birthday…

Ben:  I don’t know if I should scold you or if I should thank you for not taking out the accordion.

Brock:  It was a toss-up.  It really was.

Ben:  Is that a guitar or a banjo?

Brock:  It was a banjo.

Ben:  That’s what I thought.  All right.  Well, as Brock mentioned, tomorrow is my birthday and I always do cool things for people on my list for my birthday. And for this year, I’ve decided to do something special for my VIP Text Club.

Brock:  Which I gotta say, kinda sucks for us international folks.

Ben:  Well, don’t worry. I will take care of people who are international but the big birthday prizes are gonna go to people who are on my VIP Text Club.  Here’s how you get in:  Text the word “fitness” to 411247. You’ll automatically get a free book from me. But then, on my birthday, which is tomorrow, Thursday, December 2oth.   So for anybody who listens to this podcast as soon as it comes out, I’ll be sending out a text right around 6:00-7:00 PM Pacific time on Thursday.  So stay tuned to your phones.  Keep those bad boys in your back pocket and look for a special text from me on my birthday. The other thing that we should mention is that this podcast is brought to you by audiblepodcast.com/ben.

Brock:  Sure is.

Ben:  You had a book that you recommended, Brock?

Brock:  I do. I actually was very happy to see a book by Daniel J. Levitin.  A book I read actually a couple of years ago. It’s called This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. It’s very cool. He’s actually a guy who was a record producer and a recording engineer who then went on to go back to school and become a neuroscientist.  And he really gets into the nitty gritty of how our brains respond to music and why we create music, why we listen to music, why we remember music the way that we do, all that really cool stuff.  I recommend you demo that one from audiblepodcast.com/ben.


Ben:  Yeah. And you can get your first book for free over there when you join audiblepodcast.com/ben  I love the idea of how music and how sound whether it be like special binaural beats that you can play in headphones to enhance your alpha brainwaves or whether it be like just using the hardcore techno beat to push you through a hard workout. I love to see how that stuff can actually affect neurotransmitters and intelligence and all these other parameters that we kinda take for granted when it comes to the power of what we hear being able to affect our physiology. Dr. Phil Maffetone, who we are all familiar with, he’s the guy who invented the math method that a lot of athletes use to train with.  That is probably what he’s gonna be speaking on at my upcoming live conference this March in Spokane. It’s how to use music and how to use sound to enhance performance and enhance intelligence. It should be pretty cool stuff and between _____[0:16:07.6] you can grab that book from audiblepodcast.com/ben.  I wasn’t aware of it until Brock brought it to my attention.  Now, I’m gonna check out.

Brock:  I think you’ll love it.

Ben:  And then the last thing is that over Christmas, we’ll be choosing our first person that we’re gonna actually bring into the podcast to talk about the MyList that they created.  And for those of you who are not familiar with MyList, it’s kinda like Pinterest for Facebook.

Brock:  Pinterest for people who don’t craft book.

Ben:  Yes. Exactly. You can check it out over at facebook.com/bgfitness.  We do a MyList for every single podcast episode because we talk about a lot of stuff and we wanna create basically lists that allow you guys to go in after you listen to a podcast episode and rather than trying to remember what we talk about being able to just go and have a list right there in front of you. We also would love to see your list and we’ve had a few people create some really cool MyList and shared them over at the facebook.com/bgfitness page. So if you create a MyList and you share it, we’ll be choosing some of them next 10 days that we’re gonna bring on the podcast to talk about your MyList and why you created what you did.  So check that out and here’s one more special announcement for you.

Wanna get personal access to all of Ben Greenfield’s secrets life? This March in Spokane, Washington. Ben is bringing the world’s best speakers straight to you. You’re gonna get step by step blueprints for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, and hormone optimization and get inside or access to private parties special sessions for podcast listeners only. And of course, delicious locally grown organic meals. The conference is called Become Super Human and it’s already filling up fast. But you can get in now at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. You’ll come away from this live 2 day event completely set for life  to achieve everything you want for your body, mind and performance. Whether you want to maximize fat loss, achieve an ironman triathlon, or push your body and mind to the absolutely limits of human performance. So visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman and we’ll see you live and in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.

Listener Q & A:

Annie:   Have you heard about getting an IV of glutathione before and after surgery to help protect your brain?  I was hoping to learn more about it.  Thank you.

Brock:  So, glutathione.  That’s something that’s actually manufactured in your cells, right?

Ben:  Yeah. Glutathione is certainly something that you can take orally.  It’s basically a pretty simple molecule. It’s a combination of 3 different building blocks of protein.  It’s a combination of what’s called cysteine, glycine and glutamine. And the other part of glutathione that’s really, really important is it’s got this sulfur chemical group on it. And sulfur, we’re all familiar with, is something that’s kinda smelly that you smell when maybe eggs are cooking or somebody toots or Brock drinks Tailwind but it essentially, you can of that as acting almost like fly paper in your body and a lot of free radicals and toxins, including things like mercury and other heavy metals can actually get chelated or get removed by this particular antioxidant, you basically call it.

Brock:  So it’s like the super antioxidant, the smart antioxidant.


Ben:  Yeah. Glutathione is a very potent antioxidant. It’s also used in phase one and phase two of liver detox which is something that we’ve talked about on the show before. We got into that in detail about detoxification a few episodes ago. Now, the thing with glutathione is a lot of people can be deficient in it. Especially people who tend to get exposed to lots of oxidative stress or too many toxins whether that be from pollution, from excessive exercise, from heavy metal exposure in the work place, etc.  And you can deplete your glutathione levels by basically causing your natural glutathione levels to work overtime, essentially. And there have been studies that have looked into folks and found that the highest glutathione levels tend to exist in healthy young people and there are lower levels in healthy elderly people and even lower levels in sick elderly people and lowest levels of all in hospitalized elderly people. And there are some other good studies out there that show low glutathione levels to be associated with increased risk of heart disease, risk of cancer, etc.  It is something that’s important.  There’s a few problems though with just seeing that it’s good and then going out and spending a bunch of money on glutathione or even (I’ll address this in a second) going out and getting a glutathione IV. The problem is that glutathione tends to get broken down pretty easily in your digestive tract because, as I mentioned it is just made up of these amino acids and these proteins and so it’ll tend to be used when you consume it for things like skeletal muscle regeneration or basic metabolism which your body tends to use amino acids for rather than actually staying its whole glutathione form after you’ve ingested it.

Brock:  So the body sort of uses the pieces of it that it seems to need right at that moment.

Ben:  Yeah. So you don’t get very good absorption from the stuff and there’s not very, very good correlation between your glutathione consumption of a normal typical oral glutathione supplement and an increase in your levels of glutathione. So you can’t just go out and use glutathione.  The most important thing to do if you wanna boost your glutathione levels is to consume foods or supplements or engage in activities that are going to help your body to form its own glutathione. So one thing that you can do is you can make sure that you include sulfur-rich foods in your diet because as you just learned, sulfur is kind of active component of glutathione.  So the main sulfur-rich foods are things that are kinda smelly like garlic, like onions and specifically, all the cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, that kind of stuff.  That’s just another one.  The stuff that makes you toot, basically. But sulfur-rich foods would be one really important thing to make sure that you include in your diet if you’re concerned about glutathione and you wanna make sure that you’ve got enough of that particular antioxidant. Some whey proteins can be really good source of glutathione but you wanna get what’s called the non-denatured proteins. And a lot of proteins get heated. They’re not formed through what’s called cold processing. They tend to be pasteurized or produced from pasteurized and industrial-produced milk that contains pesticides and hormones and antibiotics. So you wanna be careful with the whey protein that you choose. That’s one of the reasons that I recommend like Mt. Capra as a really, really good cold processed, non-denatured protein with actually bioactive glutathione or the ability to give your body what it needs for glutathione synthesis.  The main thing that you’re getting from a good bioactive whey protein, by the way, is cysteine.  And that’s another component as you learned of a glutathione formation. Exercise really boosts glutathione and so that’s something that you wanna take into consideration.  Of course, there is that law of diminishing returns.  Over exercise produces a lot of free radicals and can potentially exhaust your glutathione levels but exercise to a limited extent is definitely gonna help you out in doing strength training a little bit of cardio a few times a week.  As far as supplements go, supplements that give you a lot of the precursors for glutathione production, one would be alpha lipoic acid and that’s an antioxidant. It’s not going to be used to form anything that helps you to make glutathione as much as it does take some stress off of the requirements of glutathione to act as an antioxidant because alpha lipoic acid is also a potent antioxidant.  That’s something that you can supplement with as alpha lipoic acid.


And most whole food antioxidants that we’ve talked about in the show before like Lifeshotz and Solar Synergy or the living fuel Super Berry stuff, all of that is gonna be decent sources of alpha lipoic acid.  Another thing that you’d wanna look into is milk thistle extract which is also known as silymarin.  It’s something that I talked about in the hangover post that I published last week as something that can help with hangovers and liver detox.  It also can really help to boost your glutathione levels.  That’s another thing to look into.  For example, you could do something like use Lifeshotz everyday and then supplement with this Capra Cleanse and that would be an example of how to keep your glutathione level high if you combine that with exercise.  And then one other thing that I thought was really interesting is whole body cold exposure.  There was a study that was done where they took a bunch of people who swam regularly in ice cold water during the winter like these polar swimmers and what they found was that these folks had much much higher glutathione levels compared to non-winter, non-cold water swimmers. So using some cold thermogenesis to increase glutathione levels may also be something that you could look into if you’re wanting to really improve your antioxidant status going into something like a surgery.

Brock:  Would there be any advantage like really pursuing the glutathione over just getting a really good dose of full spectrum antioxidants?

Ben:  No. With a couple exceptions and one is that you could technically bypass oral processing of glutathione through an IV.  The problem with doing something like that is that IV glutathione injection can be dangerous. There are some surgeons that do recommend glutathione IV injection, literally introducing glutathione into the bloodstream via a needle to enhance the body’s ability to bounce back after a surgery and you actually see this stuff recommending quite a bit in the dermatology community for some type of skin treatments.  And the issue with IV glutathione is it can be pretty dangerous because you can risk glutathione overdose really easily if the stuff isn’t monitored quite carefully. It can cause a lot of side effects: stomachaches, diarrhea, even kidney failure and blood poisoning as well as what’s called toxic epidermal necrolysis which is basically skin cell death from too much glutathione.  So you gotta be really careful with this stuff if you’re getting IV injections.  I would be super careful with it even though it is a pretty potent antioxidant and it could technically help you bounce back from surgery, I would be going after doing something like exercise, cold exposure and then using some of the other stuff I recommended like a good milk thistle extract along with whey protein, sulfur-rich foods and any full spectrum antioxidant. And maybe a little bit of alpha lipoic acid.  There is one form and I’ll link to it in the show notes for you, there’s one form of glutathione that a couple of studies have found to increase glutathione levels to the same extent as IV glutathione.  And it’s a form of glutathione called acetyl-glutathione. And essentially, what it is is it’s a fat-soluble form of glutathione that allows it to be absorbed without it being broken down on a stomach level.  The stuff is expensive. It looks like a good active form of acetyl-glutathione is gonna cost you anywhere from about 60-100 bucks for a bottle of it.  I’m not sure if that’s worth it vs. using just some of the natural methods that you can use to increase your glutathione levels but I’ll link to it in the show notes if you wanted to use something like that and you are concerned about spending the money on it.  It’s called acetyl-glutathione.

Debbie:   Hi Ben and Brock!  This is Debbie.  I have a question that I think is gonna shock you and all of your superfit triathlete listeners.  I wanna know the least amount of time I can workout to maintain my current level of cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and body composition. I’m just completing Shape 21 with excellent results.  I’m in my early 40’s, I’m a working mother and a wife.  I exercise only to be fit, look good and stay healthy.  I do not compete in any events and I don’t have tons of extra time.  I am currently getting up at 5:00 AM to do the Shape 21 workout before my family wakes up for the day. It seems that going forward interval training offers the biggest benefit for the least amount of time.  How often will I need to do strength training and how frequently will I need to change the workout to maintain muscle confusion?  Your podcast is so helpful and chocful of fabulous and helpful information.  Keep it coming.


Ben:  So it sounds like Debbie is using my Shape 21 Lean Body Manual.  And that the very first book that I ever wrote and my goal was to have a 21-day exercise plus diet program that someone can go through with zero gas work.  Since original   publishing the book, I’ve gone and kinda re-invented the diet once but it has options for kind of a beginner, circuits – an intermediate circuit or an advanced circuit and bounces back and forth between doing cardio intervals one day, doing weight training circuits one day, doing a little bit heavier training on another day and trying to hit as many different energy systems as possible over a 21-day time spin.  So, it’s over at shape21.com.  And first of all, let me say, Debbie, that we aren’t all superfit triathlete listeners. There are many many folks who are just looking for general health that listen to the show and certainly not geared for geeky triathletes alone.

Brock:  I was a little bit shocked though.

Ben:  That’s right. We’re a little bit shocked, Deb.  Anyone would ever wanna limit their exercise.  Crazy.

Brock:  What do you do with your free time if you’re nor constantly working out?

Ben:  First of all, Debbie, you don’t have to go through Shape 21 for just 21 days. The way that I wrote the book is you could go to the entire beginner series for 21 days and then go back and do the intermediate until the intermediate starts to feel easy and it’s no longer pushing you, you no longer sore after the workouts, you’re no longer sucking wind from the cardio intervals.  And then you could move on to the advance level. And literally, the advance level is tough.  It’s up there with beach body insanity and P90X.  These are the workout programs and you could go to the advance section a couple of times too. So technically, you could use this book for almost a year before your body starts to become adapted to it.  But as far as these actual adaptations go, what’s important to understand is that different sections of your physiology are going to adapt at different rates.  I mentally like to just put things into the cardiovascular system, the musculo-skeletal system and neuro-muscular system. And it should be pretty apparent what each of those are but of course, the cardiovascular system is your heart and your lungs and your vascular system and all the enzymes and cellular structures that your body uses to deliver oxygen and blood to working tissue. So when you’re exercising and you’re doing cardiovascular exercise specifically or your weight training to a certain extent can be cardiovascular depending on how you do it. You get 2 different types of adaptations. You get what are called central adaptations which are typically short-term adaptations and what are peripheral adaptations which are long-term adaptations. An example of short-term adaptations that occur pretty quickly in response to cardiovascular exercise are increased stroke volumes – the amount of blood that your heart can pump; increased ventilation – the amount of oxygen that your lungs can breathe in; increased recruitment of muscle fibers which should be how many fibers you can grab each time your foot strikes the ground when you’re running.  And then long-term adaptations or what are called peripheral adaptations would be, for example, an increase in number of your mitochondria or what’s called your mitochondrial density which are needed for you to produce ATP from energy and basically become a better aerobic athlete. Another example of peripheral adaptation would be your ability to clear lactic acid which is a kind of metabolic by-product that can contribute to muscle burn during exercise. Generally, central adaptations to cardiovascular exercise is immediate improvements in stroke volume and blood shunting and recruitment of muscle fibers that can take place literally after about 2-4  cardiovascular workouts.  But usually, you see the biggest improvements in short-term cardiovascular adaptations occur between 2-6 weeks. About the 2-week to the 6-week mark is where you’ll start to notice that your ability to respond to specific cardiovascular, say, an interval training routine or specific cardiovascular swim or bike or run or something like that, it’s gonna start to peak after a maximum of about 6 weeks and a minimum of 2 weeks. Now, peripheral adaptation is like your mitochondrial density and some of these longer term results, that can literally take 6-12 months.


So you can be doing the same program for literally almost a year and still be getting decent results from your cardio workouts.  But as far as getting the most results, getting the best adaptations, you’re looking at 6 weeks being the longest you’d wanna go without changing up the type of cardio workouts that you do.  And the way that I generally lay out most of the programs when I’m working with athletes or designing a triathlon program or cardio training program is about every 4 weeks, we change things up when it comes cardio. So that’s my recommendation as far as cardio goes and all that means is for example, you might do the same swim or the same bike workout or the same run workout every single week for 4 weeks in a row.  And then you’d maybe take an off week and then switch to something new.   that’s an example of a cardiovascular side of things.  Does that make sense, Brock?

Brock:  Yeah. Totally. And I actually see that in the programs that you give me too.

Ben:  Yeah.  You’ll notice that you might repeat the same swim workout for 3 or 4 weeks in a row and then it changes.

Brock:  And actually, that works really well for any sort of techniques that’s involved as well.  After 4 weeks, you get the hang of doing something technically as well as aerobically.

Ben:  Exactly. So the other part of your adaptations would be your musculo-skeletal and your neuromuscular. And again, there are central or short-term adaptations and there are peripheral or long-term adaptations.  So an example of a short-term adaptation to weight training or to any training that’s considered resistance training would be a synthesis of hormones whether they’re like your anabolic hormones like testosterone or increase  recruitment of muscle fibers similar to that cardiovascular central adaptation. Examples of peripheral adaptation would be for example, increased muscle size, meaning, it can take a while.  It can be kinda long-term before you start to notice that your muscles get bigger or increased strength of connective tissue, meaning, your ligaments and your tendons start to become better able to handle strain. Now, short-term adaptations to weight training, to this type of musculo-skeletal training, you’re looking at very, very similar cardiovascular training every about 2-6 weeks.  But the caveat to that is that 2-6 weeks is generally more of your nervous system response  than more of your neuro-muscular response and generally to actually see changes in muscle size or changes in the way that your body looks, it’s usually 6 plus weeks before you start to see significant changes in that. And so when it comes to weight training, if you want to improve sports performance, you need to be similar to cardiovascular changing stuff up about every 4 weeks or so, minimum of every 2 weeks, maximum of every 6 weeks. But if your goal is just improving muscle size, getting bigger, putting on muscle, changing the way your body looks, it can actually help out to go 6 plus weeks doing the same workouts over and over again before you switch to a new workout profile.  And so that’s why a lot of times, you’ll see in like really good body building programs, someone will be doing the same workout sometimes for 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks to really build as many different muscle fibers as possible before switching things up.  Whereas if you’re looking for more of a neuro-muscular adaptation, more of kinda sports-specific sports performance enhancing type of weight training routine, you’re switching things up every 2-6 weeks.  That is kinda what it comes down to and the most important thing here to bear in mind is you gotta test and  you only really know if you test and testing if your only goals are aesthetic, testing could just be taking a photo of yourself or taking your body fat percentage.  If your goals are performance-related, it could be a specific section of road that you run once every 4 weeks to see how fast you’re able to travel it on bike or on foot or it might be 10 by 100 meters in a pool that you swim to see how fast you’re able to swim each 100 meter repeat if you’re giving yourself 20 seconds of rest between each one.  So testing is super important in terms of seeing whether or not you’ve stopped adapting to the workout that you’re doing.

Brock:  What do they say? It’s that which can be measured can be improved? I think that’s the saying that goes along with that.

Ben:  And again, go back and listen to it was either Episode 220 or 221 where Jessa and I really got into all the different ways that you can test your improvement. Hopefully, that gives you an idea of what you’re looking at in terms of time frames as far as how often to switch things up.  And as far as per week, how much you should actually exercise, what they found as far as the positive adaptations to exercise whether it be strength training or whether it be cardiovascular exercise, it’s 2-3 hours per week.


You get good results.  And after that, your results start to plateau.  When it comes to just general health and fitness, it’s 2-3 hours per week. And obviously, if you’re looking to go out and run a marathon or do a triathlon or get a really, really low body fat percentage or put on a bunch of muscles or something like that, you may need to exercise more than that.  But 2-3 hours a week would be the minimum.

Brock:  That’s the old doctor recommends 30 minutes per day kind of thing.

Ben:  That’s exactly it.  Yup.

Brock:  Okay. Let’s move on to the next question.  It comes from Craig and Craig says, “I have both an EmWave2 and an iThlete.  How do you use your EmWave to help you determine whether or not you’re overtraining? I use the iThlete for this purpose but it sounds like you prefer the EmWave2.  Also, I travel nearly every week and I find it stressful. A friend of mine asked me why it’s stressful.  I wasn’t sure how to respond.  In your opinion, why is travel stressful and what can you do to mitigate this?

Ben:  Two interesting questions and we just to run some phrases that probably could’ve confused some folks – the EmWave2 and the iThlete.  The Illudium Q-46 Explosive Space Modulator. We just like to say technical things in the show to make us sound smart.  All of those things that Craig mentioned – the EmWave2 and the iThlete, these are ways that you measure your heart rate variability. And we’ve talked about heart rate variability a little bit on the show before.  But all that is, is it’s the variation between each of your heart beats. It’s how much time that is spent between each of your heart beats and you can measure that that heart rate variability and ideally, you want your heart rate variability to be somewhat high, meaning that there is a lot of con jumping around in the variation between each of those beats because what that indicates is that your nervous system is talking to your heart very efficiently.  You got this nerve called the vagus nerve. It’s one of your cranial nerves and it controls your heart and it basically innervate your heart and it’s the mediator of your heart rate variability. And the higher your heart rate variability the more quickly you’re able to make micro adjustments in how quickly or how slowly your heart is beating.  That indicates how strong what’s called your vagal tone is or the strength of your vagus nerve is.  And that’s a direct indicator of the health of your sympathetic nervous system, the health of your parasysmpathetic nervous system and your propensity to be either overtrained or overstressed.  So it’s a very, very good way to track your overtraining.  It’s one of my top recommendations in terms of a very good way to kinda see where you’re at when it comes to being stressed or when it comes to being overtrained.  And there are a variety of ways that you can measure your heart rate variability. The traditional method and probably the most popular tool out there is called the EmWave2.  And it’s just this little black kind of box about the size of a phone like an iPhone.  And it has this cable that comes out of it and you attach the cable to your earlobe and it’s measuring your heart rate in your earlobe and then you can use little lights on the unit itself to track your heart rate variability. If I remember properly, the more it’s towards green, the higher your heart rate variability. The more it’s towards blue, the lower your heart rate variability.  But the reason that the EmWave2 is so popular is it’s produced by this company called Heart Math and Heart Math also produces what are called biofeedback tools for the consumer market, meaning that if you have an EmWave, you can plug it into your computer.  You can purchase software from this Heart Math Institute and you can literally have the software bring you through special training exercises, special breathing exercises, and essentially, tools that can help you to consciously control your heart rate variability.  It’s called biofeedback.  So it teaches you how to think thoughts, how to produce feelings that actually cause you to become de-stressed.  It’s more expensive using this software plus the EmWave2 but if you want to do really, really costumized  biofeedback, it’s a good way to go.

Brock:  That’s sort of interesting ‘cause like just knowing that you’ve got a really high heart rate variability or I guess low would be even worse.  That’s great to know that but what do you do about it?

Ben:  Yeah. Exactly.  And you have to of course, be able to not just create this vicious cycle of stress by seeing your heart rate variability as low and then getting more stressed out.


By the way, just as an interesting anecdote, I should note that if you’re overtrained with too much intensity, like too many crossfit workouts or running hard too much doing too many intervals, that type of thing, you tend to see that heart rate variability might actually remain somewhat high but it bounces around a lot from day to day.  I mean you may be at 90 one day, 80 one day, 100 one day, and by the way, the higher the score, the better.  Whereas if you’re parasympathetically overtrained, too much aerobic exercise, you’re overtraining your parasympathetic nervous system, you tend to see just consistently low heart rate variability values. As an aside, I also test my heart rate variability every single morning for 5 minutes.  The EmWave2 is expensive.  And if you’re buying that software, if you’re buying EmWave2, you’re looking at $200-300 investment.  You’ve also got options that are more portable and typically consisted with heart rate monitor strap, and then some kind of a docket that plugs into the bottom of a phone like an android or an iPhone.  And these don’t come with quite as powerful a biofeedback software as the EmWave but they can be more portable and they can offer you a way to test your heart rate variability for example, when you’re out exercising or say if you’re lying in bed, you don’t wanna get up and plug into the computer when you’re lying in bed in the morning.  There’s a couple of different types of apps like that.  One is the iThlete that Craig mentions and another one is called the SweetBeat, which is the one that I use.  I’ll put a link to both of these in the show notes but all you need is an app that you download to your phone:  some kind of a chest strap and some kind of adapter that plugs in to your phone and lets the app in your phone get the information from that chest strap that’s measuring your heart rate.  And from what I understand, the difference between iThlete and this sweet beat thing that I use is that iThlete requires you to have a paid subscription after you buy the app and the chest strap and the doc you’re paying to have access to be able to upload your data to iClick and keep track of your data.

Brock:  Those way for you to keep a history.

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.  And it’s used a little bit more in kind of the sports and athletic environment. It’s also a UK-based company. The Sweet Beat, the one that I use, it was created a little bit more for kinda like the medical and nutrition environment.  It’s got like a food allergy track around there that will track your food sensitivity, your nervous system response to food intake.  It’s free and it doesn’t require any type of subscription and you basically also have an online platform that you upload your data to.  And I’ve actually got a few clients that track their heart rate variability using Sweet Beat, upload the data to their platform and then share with me so I can look at their heart rate variability as a marker of their training status. Either one will work.  They’re all based off of specific algorithms. So I’m not sure if iThlete uses the same algorithm as the Sweet Beat does but for example, the Sweet Beat measures what’s called your RMSSD and RMSSD stands for root mean square of successive differences which doesn’t really mean anything to most people.  But basically…

Brock:  I’m furrowing my brow.

Ben:  Yeah. It’s a heart rate variability algorithm that they got from Harvard and MIT. And it basically measures frequencies. It’s measuring what’s called very low frequency, low frequency and high frequency data that it’s getting fm the heart rate chest strap and then producing a score, 0-100 score based off of that.  So, essentially, what you’re looking at is perhaps the iThlete is using a different algorithm than Sweet Beat.  But they’re both giving out similar data – sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system data.  It’s just differences in the some of the features of the app and some of the package subscription prices.

Brock:  How the heck does Sweet Beat do anything with your allergies or food sensitivities?

Ben:  What it does is it’s got this food logging part of the app, you log your food and then you wear the chest strap while you’re eating and for a little while after you eat, it tracks your nervous system response to what you eat and identifies if anything is actually causing like decrease to vagal tone or essentially causing your sympathetic nervous system to have and over response to the food that you’re eating.

Brock:  Interesting.

Ben:  Going to fight or flight mode from what you’re eating.  So it’s kinda cool.  The other thing that you can do if you just want to kind of experiment with this stuff with a low entry level cost, there’s an app made by a company called Azumio, called the Stress Check app and it just uses you putting your finger over the camera lens of your phone to check your heart rate variability.


It’s probably not quite as accurate as a chest strap method but it is kinda cool it lets you play around with this stuff before you spend much money on a better tracking unit or a tracking unit that comes with logging capabilities and stuff like that. And it also comes with some simple biofeedback tools. You can put your finger over the camera lens of the phone, it’ll walk you through a simple breathing exercise that will de-stress you based off of you breathing in conjunction with the rise and fall of your heart rate.  I personally own an EmWave2 but I don’t use it very much now that I use this Sweet Beat heart rate variability monitoring.  There’s more than one way to skin a cat when it comes to this stuff.  There’s also one I know out there called the Bio Force and there’s a few others too.  But those are my thoughts on the heart rate variability component and some of the ways that you can use it, some of the differences between the methods of tracking it.

Brock:  And we’ll put all the links to all those different apps and stuff into the show notes so you don’t have to remember everything that Ben just said.

Ben:  Yeah.  And as far as travel being stressful, I mean not to gloss over this question too much but it totally depends.  Airplane travel can be stressful due to negative ion build-up from not being I contact with the surface of the earth and due to increased levels of solar radiation and some of the free radicals that can be produced from that. Whereas, travel  by car can be stressful because perhaps you’re not moving as much as you’re used to or you’re putting your body into situations that are new – new hotel rooms, taking out of situations in which you’re mentally comfortable and increasing stress or increasing your sympathetic nervous system kind of fight or flight type of response that way.  So in my opinion, travel is stressful due to multiple reasons, whether it be physiological variables or mental variables. But I think ultimately, rather than talking about why travel is stressful, I think it’s more important to focus on some of the ways that you can mitigate some of that stress.  I certainly like using heart rate variability and then using any number of the stress relieving tools that come with pretty much anything that I just mentioned – the iThlete, the Sweet Beat, the EmWave2 or the Azumio app, they all have little biofeedback tools that teach you how to control stress and mend stress. I think that anybody who travels a lot or stressed out a lot or is working out a lot would benefit from having any of them.

Brock:  Awesome!  Okay.  Let’s move to the next question from Kathy.  Kathy says, “Ben, I heard you mention that you’ve been swimming with a snorkel. After a podcast, guest said he uses one for training.  I was in a bike accident not too long ago and fractured a couple of vertebrae.  I get a little achy from the twisting motion of breathing while I swim so lately I’ve been doing most of my swimming with a snorkel.  I’ve noticed I have more feel for body position but I’ve also found that I’m slower by about 5 seconds per hundred meter which I find surprising.  Perhaps I’m not rotating enough since I’m not breathing to the side.  Any thoughts on that or additional advice on training with a snorkel?

Ben:  Yeah. I have been training with a snorkel.  I use the finis swimmer’s snorkel.

Brock:  Is that the one that goes like sort of up between your eyes rather than off to the side?

Ben:  Exactly. It allows you to swim freestyle while you’re breathing through a snorkel.  And as Kathy kind of alluded to, it lets you focus more on your stroke technique, more on what your hands are doing underneath the water without having to think about turning your head to breathe.  And it still lets you move to full range of motion because of the way that the snorkel kinda just attaches to your head and sticks up straight out in front of you.  So you can work on your body alignment, you can work on your stroke efficiency.  For example, one of the ways I’ll use a swimmer snorkel is I’ll use it in my warm up like I’ll get in and my warm up will be 10 by 50 meters with my snorkel on. There are a few things to consider when it comes to finding that you’re slower with a snorkel. One would be that food dynamics are kind of effective when you got this big thing sticking up in front of your head.  And that’s enough ride there to slow you down a little bit.  So I wouldn’t let that bother you too much.  The other thing to think about is that when you’re using a snorkel, you do have a little bit lower oxygen availability. It’s not quite as bad as breathing through a straw but I have noticed that my inspiratory and expiratory muscles feel like they have to work a little bit harder when I’m using that snorkel which to me is great because like Jessa and I in one of these episodes that we did when you’re gone, we talked about this altitude training mask and how breathing through a smaller surface or even breathing through pursed lips kind of forces your lungs to expand a little bit more and increases the surface area of your alveoli which essentially can improve the strength of your inspiratory and expiratory muscles and your ability to extract oxygen from your lungs and into your bloodstream.


And so I almost consider using my snorkel as not just a way to work on my form but also way to work on my oxygen availability. The other thing is that when you get this thing attached to your head and you’re swimming in a front position without breathing, I’ve noticed that you also tend to thrash in the water a little bit less.  You tend to have a little bit less acceleration.  It’s almost like you swim a little bit more safely and as counter to the best of my team, the messier you swim, sometimes, the faster you go.  The more your hand accelerates in the water, the more you thrust your hips forward and sometimes it’s not quite as easy to do when you’re swimming with a snorkel.  So that might be another reason that you find that you swim slower when you swim with a snorkel.  However, I think that the benefits outweigh any risks of you swimming a slower one hundred.  If you’re gonna try to swim a fast one hundred, take off the snorkel and do speed work without the snorkel on.  But do form work and do some long training with the snorkel on.  I’m a fan of it.  I’ll link to the Finis Snorkel that I’ve been using in the show notes.  I’ve currently been using thing for about 8 weeks now and just tossing on about once a week.  I got to admit I haven’t touched the pool or touched any water since we got back from Thailand.

Brock:  Me neither.

Ben:  I just completely quit swimming for at least a month every year.  I just stay away from the pool, stay away from that black like at the bottom of the pool.  But up until I put on work with swimming, going to Thailand, I was using a snorkel about once a week just kinda experimenting with it. Really, the best way that I found to use it was just as a real focused way to warm up the lungs and warm up the stroke mechanics with like a 10 by 50 wearing a snorkel before the swim.

Brock:  It sounds like Kathy is into the same boat as you or I.  She doesn’t sound like she’s necessarily training for any races or anything like that and so the achiness she’s getting in her neck from doing the twisting motion when she tries to breathe and it would be advantageous to everyone ______[0:57:18.1] do some speed work until your neck starts to get sore and then just put the snorkel back on.

Ben:  Yeah.  Hopefully that helps you out, Kathy.

Brock:  All right. Now Tricia asks, “I have neuromas in both of my feet that only bother me when I run.  I’ve been seeing a podiatrist for about 4 months and I have been getting a series of alcohol-based shots. I also have custom orthotics for my running shoes. I’ve had some improvement from the shots but still have some discomfort.  Surgery is my next option and I wanted to know your thoughts on neuroma surgery and recovery and if I could do both feet at once.

Ben:  It probably wouldn’t surprise you that I’m not a huge fan of going after surgery in this case until you’ve tried something rather than just alcohol shots/alcohol injections.  Alcohol injections are just a form of prolotherapy.  So you can inject like sugar water, you can inject specific amino acids, you can inject alcohol into an area but these are all kind of alternative medical forms of prolotherapy where you’re trying to increase inflammation in an area to enhance the healing response. So essentially, you’re stepping up inflammation short term so that you can, basically remove metabolic by-products that might be contributing to inflammation or irritation in and area.

Brock:  So by injecting that, you’re sort of angering the cells in that area so that they sort of fight back.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s mild amount of irritation. Where a surgical treatment might involve actually excising the neuroma and perhaps transferring some nerve tissue without cutting the nerve and it could be a little bit risky and surgical complications can include not only some scars on your feet and some scar tissue formation but also worsening of nerve symptoms. And sometimes a numbness or always kinda having this weird feeling in your foot like you almost like you’re walking around constantly with like a lump in your sock.

Brock:  We should probably talk about what a neuroma is. We started to just gloss over that.

Ben:  Yeah. That’s true.  It’s just sensory nerve irritation in the bottom of your foot. It’s typically caused by nerve compression due to arch tightness. It can be from a collapse of the long arch on your foot, putting a lot of pressure on the involved nerves.  It can be die to poorly fitted shoes, too much time on your feet, weighing too much, wearing high heels or not very supportive shoes, using insoles that are too soft or too hard.


But basically, the nerves in your feet get irritated, they get swollen, they get inflamed and…

Brock:  Sometimes can grow like a bit of a tumor or growth.

Ben:  Yeah. And a lot of times, you can lose sensation between your toes, usually between your second and your third or your third and your fourth toes.  And a lot of times you get like this constant burning sensation in the bottom of your foot. Pretty annoying thing!  The first thing that I would consider even before you go into like prolotherapy and especially before you consider something like surgery would just be looking into like a metatarsal button or an orthotic that has a metatarsal relief pad or a metatarsal button built into it and this essentially spreads the head of your metatarsal bones and allows for relief of that nerve pressure.  Even if you got custom orthotic that a podiatrist made for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they built in a metatarsal button into the orthotic. There’s a cycling orthotic made by specialized, it’s called the specialized body geometry orthotic.  And I had some issues of numbness in the bottom of my foot a couple of years ago and I switched to that orthotic and it relieved the issues and I now use another…it’s a Louis Garneau custom-molded cycling shoe and same thing, it’s got a metatarsal pad built into it that keeps the heads of my metatarsal spread out and keeps me from getting that burning foot sensation after I’ve ridden my bike for a few dozen miles. I’ll link to it to a page on Amazon for you that shows you at any number of different metatarsal pads, metatarsal gel cushions, metatarsal sleeves, and metatarsal orthotics that can relieve pressure on these nerves on your foot.  But that’s one thing that I would look into before I look into like a prolotherapy or especially before you look into surgery.  That’s where I would start and then I would also definitely make sure that you’re wearing properly fitted shoes and staying away from high heels and just being careful with the type of pressure that you put on your feet from that standpoint.

Brock:  Okay. That brings us to our final question from Jim and Jim says, “Hey, could you talk about in an upcoming podcast about what the prescriptions Prilosec for acid reflux and Vyvanse for ADHD do to athletes.  I mainly a road bicycle racer but I do duathlon and triathlon every so often as well”.

Ben:  Yeah. The Prilosec, the acid reflux drug and the Vyvanse for ADHD are two completely different things.  We should probably address them separately.  Acid-stopping drugs are not that hot for you. Probably, this will surprise you to hear me say that.  But there’s 4 things that Prilosec or any acid inhibitor can do when you take it.  The first thing that you need to consider is that you can get a lot of bacterial overgrowth in your stomach anytime that you decrease stomach acid which is what an anti acid is essentially doing. And when you get bacterial overgrowth due to low stomach acid conditions that makes it so that you’re not able to digest carbohydrates properly.  And when you’re not able to digest carbohydrates properly, they ferment in your digestive tract and that produces gas. That gas causes pressure in your stomach which essentially puts pressure up against your lower esophageal sphincter and allows acid from your stomach to enter your esophagus and produces this vicious cycle of more heartburn when you’re using ironically, an acid inhibitor.

Brock:  Yeah.  It sounds like it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to not be doing.

Ben:  Exactly.  So it creates this vicious cycle and bacterial overgrowth has a lot of other kinda nasty effects to in terms of creating a lot of the symptoms of GI distress and irritable bowel syndrome and things of that nature. The other issue with shutting down stomach acid is you get impaired nutrient absorption.  A lot of the breakdown in absorption of nutrients is reliant upon a certain range of ph in your stomach.  And so if there isn’t enough acid in your stomach then normal reactions that are required to absorb nutrients become impaired.  So for example, when you eat food, your stomach is supposed to secrete hydrochloric acid and that triggers the production of something called pepsin and that’s one of the enzymes that requires for you to digest protein.  So if you suppress your HCL levels through an anti acid, you suppress your pepsin levels so proteins don’t get broken down into amino acids.  And so that can lead to things like amino acid deficiencies and interestingly, I’m guessing that the listener asked this question about both ADHD and an acid inhibitor because perhaps they’re using both of these things.


But amino acids are used for neurotransmitter production and if you got impaired amino acid absorption and impaired neurotransmitter production, that can be linked to depression and anxiety and insomnia and a lot of neural disorders, including ADHD. That’s something to think about, the fact that you’re on both of these things maybe related. Once these proteins that escaped digestion actually enter your digestive tract, actually, they can end up in your bloodstream too so your body can mount an allergic or auto immune reaction against the undigested protein particles in your bloodstream because you didn’t digest them in your stomach.  There are a lot of other nutrients whose absorption become impaired when you’re on an anti acid.  Some of the main ones are iron which obviously is very important for people who are exercising; B12 which is very important for your brain function and also your normal neuro-muscular activities that also can affect your exercise capabilities; folate which is important for keeping your cardiovascular system healthy, so that’s another one that can affect your exercise capacity if it’s not getting absorbed properly because of anti acid intake; calcium is another one that can get impaired when you’re given an HCL supplement for example, that brings your stomach acid back up.  It can go hand in hand with improved calcium absorption. And then finally, zinc which is very important for hormone formation. It’s a good testosterone precursor and it’s been shown that most anti acids significantly reduce your absorption of zinc, so that’s another.  That’s kind of a second thing to consider is not only bacterial overgrowth but also impaired nutrient absorption when it comes to being on an anti acid. Then other important thing to consider is you might get sick more if you’re on an anti acid because the high acid environment of your stomach is one of the main defense mechanisms in your body.  When the ph of your stomach is low, bacteria don’t last very long thus the ph gets higher and higher and as acid starts to disappear from your stomach, bacterial species, many of them including harmful ones can avoid acid in your stomach and start to thrive and basically, a stomach that doesn’t have enough acid is creating this environment that harbors potentially pathogenic bacteria because you’ve got this dark warm stomach that doesn’t have necessary acid in it.  And a lot of times you get what’s called bacterial overgrowth and so you may find that you have risk of like giardia, salmonella, cholera. H.pylori is another one that tends to be kinda common and this stuff can not only result in GI distress and poor bowel function but can also affect your mood. Again, another reason that I suspect that if you’re on a heartburn medication may be one of the reasons that you’re also having to be on an ADHD medication.

Brock:   Yeah.  Be interesting to know which one came first.

Ben:  Exactly.  And then the final thing to think about is that one of the leading causes of what’s called the atrophic gastritis which is a major risk factor for stomach cancer is h.pylori and acid-suppressing drugs can really worsen h.pylori bacterial infection and increase risk of stomach cancer.  And so that’s something else that you really wanna be careful with.  The other thing that you should consider here when it comes to exercise is that if you’re getting acid into your esophagus, there is a significant drop in the ability of your lungs to take in and breathe out air and that’s the reason that a lot of doctors wouldn’t want to put asthma patients on anti acids, it’s because it can significantly impair your lung function and so that’s something else to consider when it comes to exercise.  So obviously, a lot of issues here when it comes to being on an anti acid and I think we’ve discussed on the show before some of the ways that you can get rid of heart burn without actually going on an anti acid but it’s kinda sort of simple.  What you wanna do is reduce anything that could be potentially promoting bacterial overgrowth which remember produces this gas and this pressure up against your esophageal sphincter and also reduce anything that can be contributing to low stomach acid. The other things that you can do is replace stomach acid, you can replace digestive enzymes, you can replace a lot of nutrients that help out with digestion and it kinda restore your levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut.


So essentially we’re talking about kinda like a gut healing protocol.  I’ll link to a lot of the stuff that I recommend to kinda heal your gut in the show notes.  And I know that the podcast is starting to get a little bit long so in the interest of time, I’m just gonna kinda gloss over a few of these things.  But some of the stuff I would recommend would be controlling the amount of carbohydrates and the type of carbohydrates that you take in.  I would recommend that you try out something like a specific carbohydrate diet which limits the type of carbohydrates that tend to cause fermentation and heartburn.  And I’ll link to a free book in the show notes that kinda goes over what the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is and shows you how to start that.  A few of the other things that I would recommend would be that you look into getting on like an actual (as ironic as it may seem) acid like HCL. I like HCL with pepsin supplement that you can literally take in the early part of each meal and that’s just a capsule that you swallow that has both pepsin and HCL in it and will start to rebuild the healthy levels of stomach acid and the healthy levels of pepsin in your stomach.

Brock:  HCL is hydrochloric acid, right?

Ben:  Exactly.

Brock:  That’s really powerful stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  You don’t need much of it.  And another way that you can stimulate acid production in your stomach is by taking herbs that are called bitters.  And you can literally get like bitters tonics that are like this liquid shots that you can use prior to consuming your meal and that can help out as well.

Brock:  They also go really well in cocktails.

Ben:  That’s great in a cocktail. Yup.  A little bit of bitters added to some beefy _____[1:11:53.8] and an olive, preferably a blue cheese stuffed olive, yum.  But stay away from it until you get rid of your heartburn ‘cause alcohol can contribute to that.  So bad advice, Brock.  Down, Brock.

Brock:  Sorry.

Ben:  And then also, probiotics can really help with restoring proper balance of the stomach flora.  The other thing that you may wanna consider that your gut lining maybe damaged and that can contribute to heartburn is getting on like bone broth or if that’s too time-consuming for you to make, just buying like a gelatin supplement which you can mix up in water, that can have a similar effect in helping restore the mucosal lining in your stomach.  So those are some of the (you know, I just want for that stuff really fast) but I’ll put a link to all these in the show notes as well as on the MyList for this episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness.  Those are some of the gut healing protocols that I would look into.

Brock:  And actually, if you go to Endurance Planet, I know Dr. Minkoff went really in depth one time about exactly this stuff.  So if you did a search for “acid reflux”, probably on Endurance Planet, you’ll find that as well and he’s quite a genius.

Ben:  Yeah.  Over at enduranceplanet.com, for sure.   And then the other thing when it comes to the ADHD medication, is that Vyvanse is basically a psycho stimulant. It falls into the class of amphetamines and it certainly an approved treatment for ADHD similar to an anti acid, there a lot of side effects from dizziness to nausea to anxiety and diarrhea to headache, insomnia and there’s also a very, very kind of addictive potential of the stuff.  In terms of the potential effect on exercise, the main thing that I would be concerned about is cardiac dysrhythmia which is abnormal electrical activity in your heart which can cause sudden cardiac death if you’re not careful.  And that’s one of the main issues with amphetamine that I would want you to be really careful about.  There was a really interesting study that came out early last year on treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with basically amino acid precursors.  And this is something I just hinted that that amino acid deficiencies can be associated with neural issues.  And in this particular study, they were able to mitigate a lot of the effects of ADHD by using amino acid precursors specifically precursors with dopamine and precursors for serotonin.  And there are specific natural amino acid derivatives out there that can be synthesized in the serotonin and dopamine.  5-HTP, L-Dopa, L-tryptophan, and L-Tyrosine are the main neurotransmitters that are used in natural neurotransmitter treatment for ADHD.  And there are certain supplements that have these particular components in them.  I’ll put a link in the show notes but basically, there’s one called NeuroReplete that’s used to increase serotonin levels.  There’s one called CysReplete that’s used to increase what’s called catecholamine synthesis and there is one called L-Dopa that you can use to improve your dopamine levels.  And then you can also just take straight Tyrosine and 5-HTP.  The problem is that when you’re experimenting with neurotransmitter therapy for ADHD, it’s very easy to create imbalances if you’re not careful with this stuff and so you could get for example, too much serotonin or too much dopamine and that can kinda create issues.  So I would recommend that you work with someone who is licensed in this type of stuff when it comes to using natural neurotransmitter treatments for fixing this type of issue.  Anybody who has been to what’s called the Kalish Method  and you can check that out over at kalishwellness.com but this is a guy who has a really, really good natural treatment for ADHD.  He has a practitioner program that physicians are able to go through.  I will be looking into a physician who is certified in the Kalish Method to replenish neurotransmitter levels rather that playing around with this stuff yourself. If you just have a little bit of trouble with mild depression and stuff like that, a lot of times, you can fix it just by using for example, like some 5-HTP and some Tyrosine and all in the show notes.  I’ll put some ratios and some links and stuff for you.  But if you’re going after fall-on clinical condition, you may wanna consider working with a certified practitioner to address these type of things.

Brock:  You should probably drop in a little audio clip about Ben not being a doctor here.

Ben:  Boom!  Put it.

Brock:  Ben is not a doctor and the content provided on this podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical or health care advice.   Okay.  Back to it.

Ben:  That’s probably a perfect place to kinda end the discussion but what I’ll do is I’ll put a link in the show notes to this study on treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with amino acid precursors.  If you wanna check out exactly what they went into in that study but it really kind of, in my opinion, beats the risk of drug dependence and some of the other risks of using an amphetamine to treat ADHD. Anyways, speaking of neural issues, this weekend, I’m going to be releasing a pretty interesting podcast I did with a hypnotherapist.  He’s a hypnotherapist and a personal trainer specializes in hypnotherapy for sports performance.

Brock:  Did he make you act like a chicken?

Ben:  He’s gonna hypnotize me next month and we’re gonna record it and release it on the podcast.  But for this first episode, we’re just gonna talk about hypnotherapy and what it is.  It’s pretty cool.  So stay tuned. That’s gonna come out this Saturday.  Make sure that if you get this in time, that you get into the VIP Text Club by texting the word “fitness” to 411247.  Check out we talked about a lot of stuff in this episode so be sure to check out the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com, Episode #222 and also the MyList for this episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness.  And if you realize that Brock completely sucks compared to my wife and you want my wife back, ‘cause you don’t like Australian.

Brock:  Canadian, damn it! Canadian.

Ben:  That’s too bad ‘cause Jessa’s not coming back. No seriously, I’m talking dude, about maybe doing an episode every now and again, in the new year and kinda have a little bonus episode for folks with Jessa but we’ll see if that happens.  For now though, Brock and his banjo are with us to stay.  Thanks for listening, folks and until next time, this is Ben and Brock, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.

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Dec 19, 2012 free podcast: What Is The Best Way To Track Heart Rate Variability (HRV)? Also: what is glutathione, the least amount of exercise necessary for good health, how to minimize stress from travel, how and when to swim with a snorkel, how to deal with a foot neuroma, and how antacids and ADHD medications affect exercise.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

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OK, get MyListing away! Here’s the link to add MyList to your page or profile (did I mention – it’s free).

“Become Superhuman” Live Event With Ben Greenfield Coming To Spokane, WA, March 8 & 9, 2013 – Click here to get in now. The video below tells you all about it and/or you can listen to this audio interview from the Wide World Of Health to learn more.
New camps announced:
– February 22 to 28, 2013: Winter Triathlon Camp in Austin.
– March 2-8: Winter Triathlon Camp in Florida.
– Week of March 17: Wildflower camp – details TBA
– Vietnam Trip: April 14 – details TBA – “The Laguna Lang Co Triathlon aims to build on the success of its sister event, the legendary Laguna Phuket Triathlon. The triathlon will be comprised of a 1.8k Swim, 62k Bike and 12k Run. A triathlon Team Relay, a Duathlon and a Fun Run will round off the event program.” Register for the race.
– Ben’s Annual Trip to Thailand: Nov-Dec 2013 – details TBA, but e-mail [email protected] if you want in because it will fill fast.

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Annie @ 00:18:44
Wants to learn more about glutathione. Will it protect the brain if it is taken by IV before and after surgery?

~ In my response, I mention acetyl-glutathione. And combining a full spectrum antioxidant such as Lifeshotz with a liver cleanse such as CapraCleanse.

Audio Question from Debbie @ 00:29:33
Wants to know what the least amount of time is that she needs to workout to maintain a good level of fitness and health. She doesn’t race or compete and also doesn’t have a lot of extra time in her day. She is currently following Ben’s “Shape 21” workout program.

Craig asks @ 00:40:45
I have both an EmWave 2 and an iThlete. How do you use your EmWave to help you determine whether or not you are overtraining? I use the iThlete for this purpose but it sounds like you prefer the EmWave 2. Also, I travel nearly every week and find it stressful. A friend asked me “why is it stressful?” I wasn’t sure how to respond. In your opinion, why is travel stressful and what can you do to mitigate this?

~ Craig is referring to this emWave2. In my response to Craig I recommend SweetBeat HRV monitoring, for which you need: phone app, chest strap, and ant+ adapter. I also recommend the Stress Check app from Azumio.

Kathy wrote @ 00:52:46
Ben, I heard you mention that you’ve been swimming with a snorkel after a podcast guest said he uses one for training.  I was in a bike accident not too long ago and fractured a couple of vertebrae.  I get a little achy from the twisting motion of breathing while swimming, so lately, I’ve been doing most of my swimming with a snorkel. I have noticed I have more feel for body position. But I’ve also found that I’m slower by 5 sec/100m, which I find surprising.  Perhaps I’m not rotating enough, since I’m not breathing to the side?  Any thoughts on that or additional advice on training with a snorkel?

~ In my response to Kathy, I mention this Finis snorkel.

Tricia asks @ 00:57:28
I have neuromas in both of my feet that only bother me when I run. I have been seeing a podiatrist for about 4 months and have been getting a series of “alcohol” based shots. I also have custom orthotics for my running shoes. I have had some improvement from the shots but still have some discomfort. Surgery is my next option and I wanted to know your thoughts on neuroma surgery and recovery and if I could do both feet at once?

~ In my response to Tricia, I mention metatarsal buttons, metatarsal pads, and orthotics.

Jim wrote @ 01:02:16
Hey, could you talk about in an upcoming podcast about what the prescriptions Prilosec (omeprazole) for acid reflux and Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate) for ADHD do to athletes? I am mainly a road bicycle racer, but do a duathlon and triathlon every so often.

~ In my response to Jim, I reference this paper on ADHD treatment. I also recommend reviewing this free book on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

And also:
– 2 to 4 scoops CapraColostrum per day
– 4 to 6 drops oil of oregano per day, 1-3x/day
– Hydrochloric acid – start at 1 and work up to 5-7x650mg/day. Recommend NOW Foods Betaine HCL.
– If H. Pylori, include 2-3 capsules mastic gum per day. Recommend Jarrow Formulas Mastic Gum.
– Bitters. Recommend Floradix Herbal Bitters, 1-2 servings daily.

Regarding ADHD, I also mention some of my recommended brain supplements, including these Brain (supplements):
– 1 TianChi per day (Chinese Adaptogenic Herb complex) on empty stomach
– 2 to 6g/day triglyceride based fish oil – recommend SuperEssentials
– Acetyl-L-carnitine – 500mg, 1x/day – recommend 1-2 servings “NutraRev” per day
– Alpha-lipoic-acid, 100mg, 1x/day – recommend 1-2 servings “NutraRev” per day
– For depression/lack of motivation – 3000mg Tyrosine + 300mg 5-HTP

It is HIGHLY recommended that you do neurotransmitter testing before experimenting with these particular supplements, but for neurotransmitter balance (behavioral issues, depression, etc.), you can start with 4 NeuroReplete (to balance catecholamines and increase serotonin), twice daily (in the AM and at 4 PM) with 2 CysReplete (for L-Cysteine to increase catecholamine synthesis or when using D-5 Mucuna), three times daily (the first dose at noon). Read the Kalish Method book or talk to Ben before experimenting too much with this stuff.

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/12/episode-222-what-is-the-best-way-to-track-your-heart-rate-variability/

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

4 thoughts on “Episode #222 – Full Transcript

  1. Do you have and wearable computing devices that you would recommend like a FItBit etc.?

    1. I like the Lifetrak coupled with Argus from Azumio – awesome combo! Check out the review Brock did of Lifetrak in the BGFitness phone app https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/app/

  2. wipergreaser says:

    I check my heart rate when I was lying down in my bed and it was 30. I am a high school athlete who is an good/average runner who does 5k's. During the lest 2-3 weeks I have felt weak and fatigued during my runs. Is it possible that I have parasympthetic fatigue and who could I go to to figue out it is that or maby i could be somthing else? Like a thyriod problem? Thanks soo much your answers to my questions are much appreciated and I love the great information on this website, I have recommended to most my cc team! Please help!

    1. Hi!

      This COULD be parasympathetic fatigue, but it would take some further testing to rule out thyroid, review your diet, etc. I'd be happy to help you out via a personal one-on-one consult. Can you please check http://pacificfit.net/items/one-on-one-consultati… and then let me know if you have any questions? We can do 20 or 60 minutes, whichever you'd prefer.


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